Modern Robotics

10 PAGES
3122 WORDS

Modern Robotics

The design challenge is to navigate a robot through a preset course using the knowledge from previous labs and additional research of any kind. Solutions are free from restraint except for the requirement that the voltage source may not exceed 9 volts (standard layout would dictate a 7.2 voltage source). The course layout, dubbed a maze, is a simple square enclosure with 2 barriers protruding from the near and far rails. Black and white tape is laid out inside suggested a course for robots to take or for optic sensors to follow. The interior walls create the challenge while the rest of the course remains very limitless in navigation. Time and accuracy must be taken in consideration, as grade is based on both course time and the robot's ability to maintain consistent time.
The open ended ness of the assignment led to many proposed choices concerning the path of robot, type of control and implantation of chosen design. The most obvious choice was optic sensors, as the tape would ensure a consistent route through the maze and the most accurate times. The design would be as obvious as the route: two sensors controlling the speed or direction of the wheels. When one sensor drifted from the light the wheels would compensate to bring the robot back on track. The idea seemed simple and a sure way to rapidly complete the assignment without trouble. Further thought engendered many concerns: not only must the robot navigate the course but it must also do it faster than the competing teams. Sensors would ensure the robot would cross the finish line, but not with a fast time. The course the sensors must take is loopy and has somewhat sharp turns for the non agile robot. Speed would have to be decreased in order to keep the robot on the track, as a fast and sharp turn could throw the robot off the tape, destroying any possibility of a finish. Another problem arose with sensitivity. The robot, once of the tape a little, would not be able to smoothly get back on the course, resulting in swerving and thus making the course twice as long. With these considerations in mind, we decided that the sensor idea would not be the best choice for our final design.
Our second proposed option gained a notch in the level of thinking, although it was still simple and to the point. We designed a way to use both bumpers to make two turns in order to navigate both walls. The robot would be angled at startup in order to ensure an impact with the far right wall. The robot would then make a left turn and head to the other wall, where it would again impact, turn, and in theory finish the course. The idea seemed consistent at first, and another quick and easy way of completing the course with a decent time. The only necessary circuit setup would be proper wiring of the control boards already constructed on the robot. These circuits would be fail-safe as they were designed by a commercial company and tested before shipping. With the operational status without doubt we could focus on setting the four potentiometers on the board in order to finely tune both turns. Problems began immediately. Not only must both turn be accurate, but the starting angle would also have to be within a very narrow margin or both turn would be thrown off. Various ideas were tried so that the robot could be started at the same angle, but even that did not prevent miss guided turns due to error in the potentiometers. When the idea did work, the robots times were respectable but still not in the range of victory. It seemed indolent to strive for meritocracy, so we opted to decide on another way of designing the robot, although we saw did not discard using bumpers as a way of navigating the course.
Our third design once again gained in complication and achievement. We designed a system of analog turns in order to make two turns at specific times to clear both walls. The turns would not rely on hitting a wall which created two benefits over the previous design:

Read the full essay 3122 words